NOTE: Daniel and Kelly speak to this question on Episode #22 of The Abel Speaks Podcast. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, or your app of choice.

Daniel Crawford:
Welcome to The Abel Speaks Podcast, where we speak to commonly asked questions by parents who’ve received a life-limiting diagnosis for their child. We’re Daniel and Kelly Crawford, and we’re glad that you’ve joined us.

Welcome back to another episode of The Abel Speaks Podcast. We’re glad that you’ve joined us, and today we are going to touch on a topic that is a common internal wrestle on this journey through pregnancy. And the question is this, what if someone close to me is also pregnant at the same time?

Kelly Crawford:
There are a few variables here. I think it depends on who that other person is, and what kind of relationship you have with them, how close you are to them. And depending on your personality, it might be harder if you’re really close to them, or it might be harder if you just know them in social settings or whatnot. And so depends on who that person is. I think it depends on how much overlap you have with them, how much time you’re spending with them, how often you see them, and in what context you’re seeing them.

And then it just depends on who you are and what your personality is, what your temperament is, how you are navigating this season of grief, and the way that you respond in grief might be really different than the way that you respond when you’re not in grief. So I think the combination of all of those things will determine if having someone in your life that is pregnant at the same time, if that will be difficult or not.

Daniel Crawford:
Yeah. And I didn’t explicitly say this upfront, the context obviously is, “Hey, I have a complicated pregnancy where my child has received a diagnosis, not a, quote, unquote, “healthy pregnancy”, as we’re so used to taking for granted. And so I’m looking around and…” Yeah, I think what you said is the nature of the relationship really does impact, maybe, how it hits, and how easy or difficult it feels, loose connections versus if you just zero it in. “Hey, I’m in a group of friends where I go to a Bible study,” or whatever it is, “where three of the other moms are pregnant at the exact same time.” And that’s just really hard to enter into that, week after week.

Kelly Crawford:
This is something that we actually personally experienced. My sister was pregnant around the same time that I was pregnant with Abel. When we actually had him, she was six months, about five or six months pregnant, and she had her daughter, Stella. Abel and Stella are almost exactly six months apart. And for me personally, it wasn’t a difficult situation, but my sister and I are really close. And, for whatever reason, for me personally, the fact that my sister was having a little girl made it feel a lot different and less difficult, I guess? Whereas I think if she had had a little boy, it might have felt harder. I don’t know. I’ve heard from other moms that the gender dynamic can make it feel more difficult if they’re having the same gender as you.

Daniel Crawford:
Any practical advice you would give for parents if they’re wrestling with those internal emotions?

Kelly Crawford:
I think it can be common to feel guilty. And so I would just say that it’s okay to put words on how you feel, I think it’s a good thing, and we don’t have to shy away from our feelings. We do have control on how we respond to those things, but we don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed if it is challenging. And so our advice is typically to go to that person, and just share with them and open up a conversation and say, “Hey, this is how I’m feeling about this.” I guarantee you that person has already thought about it, and wondered how you’re feeling and if it’s hard for you. And so I think putting words on it would probably bless both of you and bless your relationship.

Daniel Crawford:
Your counsel is be honest, and so be honest with that person in your life. I think what you said is exactly true. It’s already been on their mind and on their heart too, as they want to love and care for and consider you in this season. So I think it will really be a relief and really kind of a bridge. Even if internally it feels like something that would create distance, I think it could actually create more intimacy. And like all of these topics, 99 times out of 100, the person is going to be like, “Hey, thank you for telling me, I totally understand and get that.” And you can move forward accordingly. And so with that, before we wrap up the topic, any final thoughts?

Kelly Crawford:
Something that we’ve talked about in other episodes is the idea that we have less capacity to do things that we had done prior to being in a season of grief, and that includes the amount of people that we typically spend time with. And so our circle of friends usually gets smaller, and I actually think there’s wisdom in that, just because we can’t maintain the same level of activity when we’re in a deep season of grief. And so, I think we have to embrace that change.
I think oftentimes we try to fight it, and try to maintain our normal lifestyle or normal amount of relationships. And so I think we really have to be okay with that, and that sometimes, those people that it might take more effort or energy to engage with, we might not spend as much time with them in a season of grief, but then that will change when that relationship might pick back up later on. And so that’s okay, and it’s not a bad thing.

And then lastly, I think for me personally, this is personal, and I’ve heard this from other moms too, but this is not a blanket statement for every mother that’s walked through a life-limiting diagnosis and their child passing. But I think as I saw those babies get older that were close in age to Abel, for whatever reason, it softened the impact of seeing them and spending time with them. And it got a little bit easier as time went on. And I think for me, I just often… I just remember Abel at 15 days old. And so as those children got older, it was like, “Oh, well, that’s not him, because he’s 15 days old in my mind forever.” And so I think it made it a little bit easier as they got older.

And then I also do think once we got pregnant again, and had our daughter Mayfield, she did not replace Abel in any way, but I had a place for my mothering, my love, my nurturing to go to. And so it did ease the grief. It never replaced Abel, by any means, but it did ease the grief some. And so I think it just takes time. And that’s a cliche statement, but I do think that time helps. It doesn’t erase or heal all things, but it does change our perspective and our experience, to some extent.

Daniel Crawford:
Yep. I think that’s a good word and a good place to wrap up this episode of The Abel Speaks Podcast. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

Hey, friends, thanks for listening in. We hope this content has been helpful. At Abel Speaks, we exist to support families who have chosen to carry a child with a life-limiting diagnosis, and we want you to know that the foundation of that support is rooted in relationships. And so if you’re a parent in this circumstance, then by all means, continue listening in, but we’d really encourage you to reach out by sending an email to support@abelspeaks.org. Again, our heartfelt prayer is that this episode has served you in some way, and that we might have the opportunity to serve you further in the future.
The Abel Speaks Podcast is produced, mixed, and edited by the team at Sound of a Rose.